The following Op-Ed is by Dania Reynolds of Inspirations for Youth and Families (IYF). I disagree with the City of East Liverpool’s decision to release private photos of a heroin overdose involving a couple in a car with a baby in the backseat. You can also read the blog agreeing with the City by Scott Brand, a popular blogger for IYF.
Why is it was wrong to release the heroin overdose images?
As an employee of an addiction treatment center, I would like to share the negatives of such an action. I sympathize with the City of Liverpool in wanting to raise awareness of the heroin epidemic. However, images like these only add to the stigma that already engulfs the drug abuse narrative.
Soon after its release, the public debate was fierce whether it was right for the community to release these images. Especially, with the face of the child being exposed. While the community meant well all they really managed to achieve is adding more to the misinformation of what exactly is an addiction. This paints a picture of parents suffering from heroin addiction who do not care about their child or their own well-being. None of us know the story behind their abuse or what this family has been through. Irresponsible comments saying the parents deserve jail failed to get to the crux of the problem. These adults need treatment for their heroin addiction.
The city of Liverpool opened up a floodgate of negativity towards drug addiction and what it means. I understand the anger this image sparks as it is really an irresponsible action in the way they disregard the child’s safety. In that same breath, attacking his guardians for an illness they have no control over does not address the underlying issue. The viral post was created to bring what the city of Liverpool thought would be awareness of a serious epidemic across America. Instead, they lit the spark to a debate condemning addicts.
This was a great opportunity for the city to advertise their many programs offering help for people struggling with addiction. Likewise, they had a platform to make a difference for their community. Instead, they made a public mockery of this family and their situation. We are all human and make mistakes. By the same token, this would have been a perfect opportunity to help those making a mistake gain access to the tools necessary to recover from their addiction. It would have also served as a great opportunity to educate those who aren’t suffering from drug addiction. However, all that was achieved was a greater divide between those who suffer from addiction and those who do not.
Do you think it was the right decision to release the heroin overdose images? Comment below!
The personal views expressed by the author above, does not represent the opinions of the company itself.